October 11, 2013


So it looks like we did miss our potential big days of banding over the weekend...sad, but who wants to band hundreds of Myrtle Warblers anyway?  Things have been slow this week birdwise (too windy), but we've had quite a few fourth graders come in and out with their classes, which can be entertaining.  Most kids have no clue what any of the birds are, they almost always guess chickadee for any bird you're holding.  Sometimes two kids will both, out loud, guess chickadee.  One kid did ID a Hermit Thrush, which naturally left us a little speechless, mostly because he is doomed to be a true nerd if he knows that already.

Our real excitement of the week was this bird, a young male Golden-winged Warbler.  Not a common bird in Massachusetts any time of year and one of very few (<5?) caught here in the last twenty years.

This bird is very closely related to the Blue-winged Warbler.

Unfortunately, with habitat loss, hybridization with Blue-winged Warblers and being outcompeted by their more aggressive relatives, Golden-winged Warblers are in steep decline and one of the more threatened warblers in North America.

Along with orioles and other thin-billed warblers, Golden-winged Warblers will actively open their bills, as seen here, when you try squeezing it shut.  As you might guess, this proves to be a very useful reflex if you are foraging in the canopy looking for insects and encounter curled up leaves.

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